Less Stupider & Vulgar


Less Stupider & Vulgar

By Serah-Marie McMahon

The Kidnappers have been friends since high school, and it shows. Moving on from live sketch comedy and short films, Montreal comedy collective Kidnapper Films are releasing their first feature, Who is KK Downey?, this September. The film centres on a literary hoax based loosely on the JT LeRoy scandal, but it’s really a self-effacing lampoon of all that is Hipster Cool (with a lot of dirty words).

Darren Curtis, one of the founding Kidnappers, co-wrote, directed, and produced the film. Oh, and played the title character.

How did you raise funding for such a huge project?

We funded the film using the American model: start a corporation; investors become board members. Write a business plan where they get money back if the movie pays out. It was hard to get, because this kind of thing is not really done in Canada, but we had the shorts and the script–so everyone knew what they were getting into.

How are you going to show the film?

Right now for Canadian theatrical we are self-distributing, which actually isn’t so bad. It’s basically like doing a really big live show–we contact press, make posters, hand out flyers. We will be showing in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary…fortunately there aren’t a lot of huge cities in Canada so it doesn’t make the task too daunting. Paying for plane tickets is probably going to be the most expensive part.

Is this film reflective of the Montreal independent creative scene?

It is definitely making fun of creative hipster types, which we are a part of in every sense of the stereotype: lazy, unemployed, and way too fashionable. But the city is generic–people actually think the film was made in Williamsburg [Brooklyn], so it’s more like “Hipster Town USA.”

What’s interesting in the Montreal comedy community?

Uncalled For is a really amazing group of improvisers. They do a lot of the standard improv games, but also do these crazy long narratives, like entire half-hour stories and just keep adding to it. It’s really impressive. Automatic Vaudeville Studios is great, they are kind of timeless, and don’t ever get crude or topical. Word on the street is they’re doing a feature length film this fall. Theatre Ste. Catherine has turned into a Mecca for Montreal theatre and comedy. On Sundays they teach improv to novices, who can then qualify for shows.

Was the script derived from improv work?

Some of the better jokes were done in the moment on set, but this sucker was all written out. For first-time directors/actors/writers, I think the investors wanted to see something strong on the page, so we spent a lot of time in coffee shops getting this mother right on paper.

How is Kidnapper’s stage work different from its film work?

It’s usually way stupider and more vulgar, because we don’t rehearse and it’s an easy out. I think we sometimes try to use the energy from the shows in the movies, but they are not really related.

How has Kidnapper’s work evolved in the last ten years?

Mostly technical, better editing and photography…actually, I think the equipment just got better.

Who is KK Downey? Is playing Toronto After Dark in October. For other cities and showtimes visit kidnapperfilms.com.